I will compare and contrast the two stories, "The Happy Prince" by Oscar Wilde and "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin. These stories are quite different, but they have some similarities.
The Happy Prince
In this story, a swallow is on its way to Egypt when it rests under a statue and is pelted by drops of water. He thinks that the statue is leaking, but then finds out that it's crying.
The statue tells the swallow about how he once was a prince who lived in a palace in which there was no sadness. After he died, the townspeople made a statue in his honor, but he is sad because he sees all the unfairness of the world.
He asks the swallow to take the jewels that were set into the statue and deliver them to poor people. After doing his bidding, the swallow decides to stay with the Prince and does more errands for him, like take all the gold leaf off him and give it to beggars.
Afterwards, the swallow dies of cold and the statue of the Happy Prince is torn down.
The Main Characters:
The main characters in this story are the statue of the Happy Prince and the swallow.
The setting is an unnamed town in the north of Europe, as seen from this quote from the book:
[The climate in the north of Europe is really dreadful.] - The Swallow
The Story of an Hour
A lady named Louise is misinformed that her husband died in a train accident. She starts crying, but then realizes that she was free to do whatever she wanted without him around to boss her. She loves her newfound freedom and dies of sadness when he unexpectedly returns. The doctors say she died of joy.
The Main Characters:
The main characters in this story were Louise and her husband.
The setting is in Louise's house. The story takes place during the space of an hour.
Comparing the Stories
Louise and the swallow are similar in that they both want(ed) freedom. In the same way, they are the main characters in their respective stories, and are told what to do by other characters. The main characters die in the end.
The Happy Prince and Louise's husband are both telling the main characters what to do.
Both stories are concerned with the idea of freedom and that it is important. Also, in these stories, the main characters have their freedom at the beginning; however, their freedom is lost later in the story.
Contrasting the Stories
Louise wanted to be free from her husband, but it isn't explicitly said what it meant to be free for her. On the other hand, the swallow sacrifices the freedom of going to Egypt for his friend. Where Louise didn't have a choice to leave, the swallow did, but didn't choose that.
The character of Louise's husband isn't well-defined, whereas the character of the Happy Prince is the opposite. Where the husband restricts his wife, the prince only encourages the swallow to stay with him, but doesn't force it upon him.
In The Story of an Hour, only the lady dies, but in The Happy Prince, both the swallow and the Prince cease to exist.
The Story of an Hour takes place inside Louise's house, but The Happy Prince takes place in a town.
The message of the Story of an Hour is that in a strained relationship, freedom is better than friendship. However, in The Happy Prince, the message is that friendship is more important than freedom, or even life, as was seen when the swallow would rather have stayed with his friend and die of the cold than go to Egypt and stay alive.
Wilde, Oscar. The Happy Prince. Oscar Wilde online, https://www.wilde-online.info/the-happy-prince.html.
Chopin, Kate. The Story of an Hour. The Kate Chopin International Society, https://www.katechopin.org/story-hour/.